Reading slumps are one of the most disheartening and demotivating periods for a reader. To-Be-Read (TBR) books pile up, reading goals are put on hold, unachieved, and the general feeling of unaccomplishment a reading slump brings may bring effects larger than we thought.
However, the easiest way to get out of one is to start from scratch. Instead of begrudgingly starting that 800-page fantasy novel, begin with short stories to get the ball rolling again.
With that, here are three books under 300 pages to get you out of a reading slump.
1. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (253 pages)
Genre: Humor / Fiction.
Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups?
Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behaves as if Laura never mattered.
But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, Rob’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.
Reasons to read:
A light-hearted, witty novel, offering multiple opportunities for either an amused snort, or a full-blown laugh. Although an easy read, it possesses an underlying tone of loss, acceptance, and the nagging question of “what if” when it comes to past relationships.
Paints a vivid picture of deeply flawed characters along with their various tribulations and (mostly) questionable decisions.
Reminds you of all the music and artists you need to listen to. The on-screen adaptations provide beautiful accompanying soundtracks with a variety of genres, suited for everyone.
2. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori (163 pages)
Genre: Literary Fiction / Contemporary.
Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life.
In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction ― many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual ― and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less.
Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action.
A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.
Reasons to read:
Provides an alternative take on social norms. Although not explicitly mentioned, it dances around the idea of mental illness and social awkwardness possessed by the main character, Keiko Furukura. Additionally, it touches upon appreciating and finding joy in the minute things in life that we don’t really notice.
In the time of essential workers and front liners, this novel provides a newfound appreciation for jobs that were previously disregarded, or looked down upon. Now more than ever, convenience store workers are seen as unsung heroes, ensuring the shelves are stocked and striving to provide ease of mind for panicked consumers.
3. Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi translated by Geoffrey Trousselot (213 pages)
Genre: Fantasy Fiction / Magical Realism.
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold.
Reasons to read:
Although the writing is simple and concise, this character-driven novel transports readers into an alternate dimension. Toying with the age-old question: If you were given the opportunity to visit the past, would you? Despite knowing there is nothing you can change?
Following 4 different and seemingly unrelated characters, this novel explores the yearning for reconciliation, closure, lost loves and supposedly lost time.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold gained a keen following, earning an extension of the whimsical coffee shop and its customers, with Tales from the Cafe.
What other books would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!
Featured Image Origin: Chris | Flickr
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